Portland Protest Ends w/Burglaries,Fires,Pepper Spray,Arrests
Portland Police say the fourth night of protests resulted in burglaries, damage to buildings, objects being thrown at police who returned with pepper spray, and 23 arrests.
Officials say the demonstration, that called for justice for the death of George Floyd, started out peacefully. Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into the black man's neck for nearly 9 minutes. The death has sparked violence and demonstrations around the country. Portland Police Chief Frank Clark says hundreds of people began gathering at around 7:00 Monday night, and things went along okay for a while, adding that the local police support the rights of those who want to protest and that the officers are equally disgusted by the events in Minnesota.
"Unfortunately," Clark said in a media release, "a committed smaller segment of this group ended up making this event anything other than a peaceful and lawful protest."
At around 8:30, many of the demonstrators started to disperse, with a few hundred others staying in the area of police headquarters. Police kept several roads closed to allow the group to gather safely. But then, things started to get ugly. Some of the people began damaging the barricades and tried to damage police vehicles, blocking them in so they couldn't leave. The officers had glass bottles and rocks thrown at them, while others were given death threats. Several businesses were damaged, vandalized with graffiti, and broken into.
A tractor trailer driver that had just completed a delivery on Middle Street drove his rig through the group gathered in front of the police station, just after 9:30 p.m, before being stopped by police. The driver and his passenger were confronted by protesters and, as police took him into custody, the officers and occupants of the truck were attacked. Police say things continued to escalate, with protesters throwing bottles, rocks, bricks, and urine at the officers, as well as setting trash cans on fire. Several businesses were damaged or burglarized in the vicinity of the Old Port. Officers used some non-lethal weapons to gain control of the protesters who were throwing things, including pepper spray in Pepperball and aeresol spray delivery systems.
At this point, police threatened to start arresting people and many of them left the scene. The first arrest was made just after 10:30 p.m. and order was finally restored just after 2:00 in the morning. The driver of the tractor trailer, Anthony McAfee of Massachusetts, was arrested for reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. 23 others, all from the greater Portland area, were arrested for failure to disperse. They were all taken to the Cumberland County Jail, where they were processed and released on bail. The names of those arrested can be found in the Portland Police Dept.'s Facebook post. (below)
When it was all said and done, police reported 4 burglaries, 5 businesses that were damaged, 24 separate addresses that were vandalized with graffiti, and several trash can fires.
Assisting Portland Police were the Maine State Police, Cumberland County Sheriff's office, South Portland Police, Westbrook Police, Scarborough Police, Gorham Police, Windham Police, Auburn Police, Brunswick Police, Androscoggin County Sheriff's office, Sagadahoc County Sheriff's office, Topsham Police, Falmouth Police, Cumberland Police, and Yarmouth Police.